Thesaurus

sly

adjective

Synonyms and Antonyms of sly

  1. 1 clever at attaining one's ends by indirect and often deceptive means the movie pairs a sly, dissembling ex-con with an upstanding, straight-arrow cop Synonyms of sly beguiling, cagey (also cagy), crafty, cunning, cute, designing, devious, dodgy [chiefly British], foxy, guileful, scheming, shrewd, slick, artful, subtle, tricky, wilyWords Related to sly astute, facile, glib, sharp; crooked, deceitful, deceptive, dishonest, fraudulent, insinuating, knavish, Machiavellian, oblique, serpentine, shady, shifty, slippery, sneaky, treacherous, underhand, underhanded, unscrupulous; backhanded, double-dealing, hypocritical, insincere, left-handed, mealy, mealymouthed, smooth-tongued, two-faced; circuitous, circular, roundabout; clandestine, concealed, covert, furtive, hugger-mugger, secret, stealthy, surreptitious, undercover; calculating, plottingNear Antonyms of sly obvious, open, patent, plain, public, unconcealed; aboveboard, candid, direct, forthright, frank, honest, natural, outspoken, plainspoken, real, simple, sincere, straightforward, unaffected, unpretending, unpretentious, unvarnished; childlike, impressionable, simpleminded, unsophisticated, unworldly; unforced, unstudied; trustful, trustingAntonyms of sly artless, guileless, ingenuous, innocent, undesigning

  2. 2 given to acting in secret and to concealing one's intentions why, you sly fellow! I had no idea you were planning my birthday party Synonyms of sly furtive, shady, shifty, slippery, sneaky, sneaking, stealthyWords Related to sly artful, crafty, cunning, devious, foxy, guileful, slick, wily; close, closemouthed, reticent, secretive; clandestine, covert, dark; deceitful, deceiving, deceptive, devious, duplicitous, trickish, tricky, underhand, underhanded; cheating, crooked, defrauding, dishonest, dissembling, double-dealing, knavish, two-faced; lying, mendacious, untrustworthy, untruthful; insidious, perfidious, serpentine, treacherousNear Antonyms of sly aboveboard, forthright, plainspoken, straightforward; candid, direct, foursquare, frank, open, plain; honest, trustworthy, truthful

  3. 3 tending to or exhibiting reckless playfulness a sly sense of humor Synonyms of sly arch, devilish, elvish, espiègle, impish, knavish, leprechaunish, pixie (also pixy), pixieish, prankish, puckish, rascally, roguish, scampish, mischievous, tricksy, waggish, wickedWords Related to sly antic, coltish, coy, frisky, frolicsome, kittenish, playful, sportful, sportive; gay, happy, lighthearted, whimsical; energetic, lively, spirited, sprightly; artful, crafty, cunning, trickish, tricky, wily; misbehaving, naughty, troublemaking; pestering, riling, teasingNear Antonyms of sly grave, grim, sedate, sober, solemn, staid, stern

Synonym Discussion of sly

sly, cunning, crafty, wily, tricky, foxy, artful, slick mean attaining or seeking to attain one's ends by guileful or devious means. sly implies furtiveness, lack of candor, and skill in concealing one's aims and methods.
    • a sly corporate raider
cunning suggests the inventive use of sometimes limited intelligence in overreaching or circumventing.
    • the cunning fox avoided the trap
crafty implies cleverness and subtlety of method.
    • a crafty lefthander
wily implies skill and deception in maneuvering.
    • the wily fugitive escaped the posse
tricky is more likely to suggest shiftiness and unreliability than skill in deception and maneuvering.
    • a tricky political operative
foxy implies a shrewd and wary craftiness usually involving devious dealing.
    • a foxy publicity man planting stories
artful implies indirectness in dealing and often connotes sophistication or cleverness.
    • elicited the information by artful questioning
slick emphasizes smoothness and guile.
    • slick operators selling time-sharing

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